About Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan's total land area is only about 36,000 square kilometers (14,400 square miles). It is shaped like a leaf that is narrow at both ends. It lies off the southeastern coast of mainland Asia, across the Taiwan Strait from Mainland China-- an island on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. To the north lies Japan; to the south is the Philippines. Many airlines fly to Taiwan, helping make it the perfect travel destination.
Exploring Taichung
Dubbed as the cultural city of Taiwan, Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan. With a blend of modern development and traditional aspects of Taiwanese lifestyle, Taichung offers a laid-back and friendly atmosphere with benefits and conveniences of city life. Centrally located in Taiwan, your travel destination is never too far away. When you want to experience the mountains, you head for the Central Cross-Island Highway or in half an hour you are hiking in Dakeng, just outside the city limits. If you want to witness traditional culture, the historic village of Lugang is your best bet. Other tourist spots in the area are Sun Moon Lake, the Xitou bamboo forest or the several hot springs in the Central Mountain Range, just to name a few.
People
Taiwan has a population of 23 million. The larger part of the island's inhabitants are the descendants of immigrants from the various provinces of mainland China, but in particular from the southeastern coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangdong. Because the different ethnic groups have fairly well integrated, differences that originally existed between people from different provinces have gradually disappeared. Some 360,000 indigenous people, the original inhabitants of Taiwan, still live here; they can be distinguished into 12 different tribes.

Language
The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese (Guoyu), but because many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent, Min-nan (the Southern Min dialect, or Holo) is also widely spoken. The smaller groups of Hakka people and aborigines have also preserved their own languages. The most popular foreign language in Taiwan is English, which is part of the regular school curriculum. However, to be on the safe side, when taking a taxi in Taiwan it is advisable to prepare a note with your place of destination written in Chinese to show the taxi driver.
Nature
Formosa (beautiful island) is what the Portuguese called Taiwan when they came here in the 16th century and saw the island's verdant beauty. Located along the southeast coast of the Asian Continent at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, between Japan and the Philippines and right in the center of the East-Asian island arc, Taiwan forms a vital line of communication in the Asia-Pacific region. It covers an area of approximately 36,000 square kilometers (14,400 square miles) and is longer than it is wide. Two-thirds of the total area is covered by forested mountains and the remaining area consists of hilly country, platforms and highlands, coastal plains and basins. The Central Mountain Range stretches along the entire island from north to south, thus forming a natural line of demarcation for rivers on the eastern and western sides of the island. On the west side lies the Yushan Mountain Range with its main peak reaching 3,952 meters, the highest mountain peak in Northeast Asia.
Cultures
If this is your first visit to Taiwan, you will most certainly be amazed at the diversity of things this beautiful island has to offer, as a rich historical background has provided Taiwan with a multifaceted culture. People from many different places and backgrounds, such as Taiwan's indigenous people, the southern Fujianese from early China, Hakka immigrants, the Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese, and the recent immigrants from mainland China have all played a role in Taiwan's development. While gradually developing a new culture indigenous to Taiwan, they also held on to their respective customs and traditions; as a result, you will be able to sample indigenous, Taiwanese, and Chinese cultures and even find traces left by the Dutch and the Japanese when traveling in Taiwan.
Climate
Taiwan enjoys warm weather all year round. The strongest fluctuations in weather conditions are during spring and winter, while during summer and autumn the weather is relatively stable. Taiwan is extremely suitable for traveling, as the annual average temperature is a comfortable 22°C with lowest temperatures ranging from 12 to 17°C (54-63°F). Therefore, with the exception of a few mountain areas where some traces of snow can be found during winter, no snow can be seen throughout Taiwan. It will be held in early September, and during that period Taipei’s mean temperature is 26 °C, average high is 31 °C, and average low is 23 °C. The mean relative humidity is 77%, and precipitation is 225.3 mm.
Cuisine
The culinary culture of the Chinese people goes back a very long time; and while Chinese food can be enjoyed in every large city in the world today, true gourmets know that only in Taiwan is it possible to enjoy fine authentic cuisine from all the different regions of China. In Taiwan, where it seems the people live to eat, it is said that there is a snack shop every three steps and a restaurant every five. These establishments serve all kinds of Chinese food, from the roast duck, smoked chicken, lamb hotpot, fish in wine sauce, beef with green peppers, and scallop and turnip balls of the north to the camphor-tea duck, salty fried chicken with spices, honey ham, stir-fried shrimp, dry-fried eggplant, and spicy bean curd of the south. As the island's economy has developed rapidly in recent years, its culinary culture has expanded beyond the traditional Chinese foods to Chinese-style fast-food chains, thus bringing greater complexity than ever before to the art of Chinese dining. Foreign foods from all over the world have also made their appearance in Taiwan, and the island is now filled with eateries serving American hamburgers, Italian pizza, Japanese sashimi, German pig's knuckles, Swiss fondue, and just about everything else. All of this makes Taiwan a veritable paradise for gourmands. Taiwan's own native cuisine has also become known around the world, and if you try it just once you will remember it forever.
Attractions
Taiwan is known for its towering mountains, and is reputable as a "Mountainous Island". The island is spotted with numerous mountains over 3,000 meters. It is also home to Northeast Asia's highest mountain, Yushan Mountain, which is nearly 4,000 meter in height. Besides mountains, beautiful coastal scenes are also part of Taiwan's great natural asset. Starting from the northern tip of the island is the North Coast & Guanyinshan National Sccenic Area and Northeast Coast National Scenic Area that features various sorts of coastal geography. Traveling all the way down from here, one will first arrive at the scenic East Coast National Scenic Area and East Rift Valley National Scenic Area, and then the Tapeng Bay National Scenic Area blessed with sunshine and tropical touch. Alongside the mountainous areas is the Maoling National Scenic Area, where a lot of aborigines live and place one can check out the world of butterfly, Lukai stone-made houses and Natural scenes in Taiwan. Legendary tales depict subtle beauty of Alishan National Scenic Area, where you can enjoy the relaxing scene of sunrise and the cloud sea. Natural setting of Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area , eagle-spotting at Bagua Mountain, home of fruit-Lishan can sacred Buddhist sanctuary- Lion Mountain, can bring to you the many faces of the island's beauty. Penghu National Scenic Area, comprising of sixty-four islets, scattering around the Taiwan Strait. Flat landscape makes it different from Taiwan Island. It is blessed with the most spectacular view in Taiwan. Located in Pacific Ocean southeast of Taiwan, Lanyu and Green Island offer the enjoyment of nature environment, whale spotting and scuba diving. Matzu National Scenic Area comprises four townships on five islands. Most of the tourist sites are located in Nankan. Peikan has its stone houses and fish noodles. Chukuang has its fishing port, as well as a lighthouse designated as a Class 2 historic site. In Tungyin one will find fantastic rock formations and the Tungyin branch of the Matsu Distillery. Southwest Coast National Scenic Area is the 12th national scenic area. The scenic area's main attraction is a varied coastline that consists of sand dunes, sand banks, marshes and wetlands, offering precious ecological habitats for wildlife. Taiwan now has 6 National Parks - Yamingshan National park in Taipei suburban, which is famous for its volcanic landscape; the Shei-Pa National Park, acrossing Hsinchu & Miaoli counties and famous for special fish species-formosan Oncorhynchus masou ; locating in Hualien county adjacent to Li-Wu creek, Taroko National Park is known for its lofty canyon landscape; acrossing many counties in central Taiwan, Yushan National Park is famous for its bright sunshine; locating in south tip, Kenting National Park gives you a total touch of Southeast Asia; last on the list is Kinmen National Park which is known for legacies from the war decades ago. In addition to the beautiful natural setting provided, above six National Parks also offer great ecological environment for tourists. Besides, National Palace Museum, located in outskirt of Taipei City, is home to essence of the five-thousand-year Chinese history. It has the finest collections of Chinese Arts, providing an eye-opening experience of Chinese culture. Taiwan is somewhere you can experience the amazement of Chinese culture.
How to come to Taiwan
Taiwan's international flights are well developed and there are two international airports, Taoyuan International Airport and Kaohsiung International Airport. Thirty-four Airlines fly to 56 major cities around the world from Taiwan, and the average flight time from Taiwan to major cities in the Asia-Pacific region is only two-and-a-half hours. A direct flight from the West Coast of the U.S. to Taiwan takes only 12 hours, and flights are frequent. Visitors can take advantages of the domestic flight, Taiwan's island-wide railway system, comprehensive highway network and convenient bus services to visit the beautiful island. The convenient international airport for APDSC'10 is the Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan.
Visa for Arriving Taiwan
Foreign nationals may obtain visas from embassies, consulates or representative offices of the Republic of China. Visa Exempt Entry: 30 days (no extension is permitted)
Thirty-day visa exempt entry applied for citizens of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, U.K., Singapore, and U.S.A. Requirements for the entry are:
1. A passport valid for at least six months.
2. A confirmed return air ticket or an air ticket and a visa for the next destination, and a confirmation air seat reservation for his (her) departure. 3. No criminal record of law violation.
Landing Visa: 30-Day (no extension is permitted) Thirty-day landing visas can be obtained upon arrival at CKS airport. Passengers with passports of the above listed countries plus the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland are to apply for landing visa. Requirements for the entry are:
1. A passport valid for at least six months.
2. A confirmed return air ticket or an air ticket and a visa for the next destination, and a confirmation air seat reservation for his (her) departure. 3. An application form with one photo.
4. Visa fee NT$ 1,500. (Approximately 45 US dollars)
5. No criminal record of law violation.
Visa for People Holding Passport of Mainland China:
The necessary application form and further information can be found on the web site:http://www.boca.gov.tw
Currency
The Republic of China's unit of currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NT$). Bill denominations are NT$2000, NT$1000, NT$500, NT$200, and NT$100. Coin denominations are NT$1, NT$5, NT$10 and NT$50. As of January 2005, the exchange rate was quoted around NT$32 to one US Dollar. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airport upon arrival, or at government-authorized banks, tourist hotels, and large department stores. Receipts are given when currency is exchanged, and must be presented in order to exchange unused NT Dollars before departure. Traveler's checks in major currencies may be cashed at some tourist-oriented businesses and at most international tourist hotels.
Credit Cards
Hotels, department stores, airlines, large stores and restaurants accept major credit cards. Cash is generally preferred elsewhere.
Banking Hours
Banks are open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Telecommunication Service
One local call from a pay phone costs NT$1 for 1 minute, after which additional coins are needed or the line will be automatically disconnected. On private phones, the overseas operator may be reached by dialing "100." Direct dialing is available to some phones, after first dialing the prefix "002." International direct dialing rates are calculated every six seconds.
Time Zone
Taiwan is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and does not practice daylight saving time in summer. You can check Taiwan's local time and the time difference from your local time via this link: http://www.worldtimeserver.com/
Electricity Supply
Taiwan uses electric current of 110 volts at 60 cycles, appliances from Europe, Australia or South-East Asia will need an adaptor or transformer. Many buildings have sockets with 220 volts especially for the use of air conditioners.
Customs
Personal items are free of duty. Visitors over 20 years old may bring in, duty free, 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 0.5 kg of tobacco, one bottle of liquor and one used camera. Gold cannot be exported without a permit issued by the Ministry of Finance. Passengers arriving with gold and silver and planning to take it out at departure must declare it and leave the items with Customs until they leave Taiwan.
Tipping / Taxes
Tipping is optional. It is usual, however, to tip hotel porters and for restaurant service. A 10% service charge and a 5% value-added tax are added to room rates and meals.
Taxis
Major cities have an abundance of taxis. Charges are NT$70 for the first 1.5km and NT$5 for each additional 300 meters. An additional NT$5 is charged for every two minutes of waiting, and a 20% surcharge is added to fares between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., NT$10 dollars tip needed for cab dispatched by phone and for luggage placed in taxi trunk. Basically, taxi fares in all major cities are set by local city government itself and are in a minor discrepancy. Out-of-town or long-distance travels may not apply to meter charge; travelers are suggested to confirm charging method before getting on taxi.